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Power steering/rack and pinion

Old 06-05-2006, 01:52 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 1
Default Power steering/rack and pinion

So check this one out – I’m writing this for a friend who owns a ’99 S80 T-6 with a little over 80,000 miles – he bought it several months ago from a cousin who sells used cars in Boston. The car now resides in Southwest Florida but has spent most of its life up North. My friend, who doesn’t have the greatest luck with cars (actually no luck) calls me up last week to tell me his rack and pinion is no good and it needs to be replaced! I have never worked on Volvos and have no exposure to them but I do like working on cars on the weekend yet have never heard of a rack and pinion going out, especially at such “low” mileage. This is my buddy’s first Volvo and he isn’t mechanically inclined so I have to ask lots of questions in order to get a better idea on what’s going on (and I’m not sure I have asked all the right questions). Here is what I know:

2 weeks ago he ran out of gas driving home (don’t know how this happens as it has a computer telling you how many miles you have left until tank is empty but he has run his other cars dry before so this is no surprise). He has to push car off of highway by himself while “steering” which he reports is very difficult (duh!)

He then drove up to Tampa the next day and noticed a leak in his power steering system but doesn’t know where it is (a hose, etc). Has to fill the reservoir with p.s. fluid but this only lasts 10-15 minutes and then it is all leaked out! Also, he claims the pump shuts off when fluid is gone so no loud noises exist since the pump is off after all fluid is gone.

3 days later the on board computer notifies him of power steering failure as well as brake and transmission failure – all at the same time. All dash board lights come on! The computer notes are now gone and no lights are on and his brakes and transmission are/have been fine. No other problems with the car (currently) exist.

He takes it to an independent mechanic and they tell him it’s the rack and pinion and it needs to be replaced: $1500 for the part! Calls up 2 other shops and they quote the exact same price for the part – they all say the only place they can get it is thru Volvo. Do these things have a history of going out? How involved is changing one out? I believe one of the shops quoted $500 in labor. My friend looked and couldn’t find any leaking hose or loose clamp and I haven’t had the opportunity to look at it. Are there any places on-line which specialize in Volvo that anyone has had good luck with? What would cause this problem (like being a Northern car??) – Is there any dealing with the dealership?

Any info. would be greatly appreciated!

Old 06-05-2006, 09:16 PM
tech's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Orlando, Florida
Posts: 36,351
Default RE: Power steering/rack and pinion

Real touchy subject!!! LOL

Those cars came with 2 different Racks. One Normal power steering and One Electronic controlled for the Warning system.

The Company that made the electronic ones went out of business. Now they Can't get the Racks anymore.
Now there is something that has to be done to convert the New rack to the Car.

Not 100% sure what has to be done haven't had to do one yet.

Check the lines really good. I have seen the line get shifted and hit the Serpentine belt and Cut the hose and pump all the fluid out.

Also the fluid bottle is known to leak at the bottom at the hose.

Also Known is one of the lines to leak at the rack from coming loose.

Look it over really good and get back to us.
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